With more than 15 years of executive experience in community development and real estate development, Ana Lopez Van Balen is now Washington, D.C.’s first Affordable Housing Preservation Officer. According to a press release, the Mayor’s Housing Preservation Strike Force recommended the creation of the position in order to lead efforts to preserve the city’s existing affordable housing stock.
In an interview with Washington City Paper, D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) spokeswoman Gwen Cofield said that one of Lopez Van Balen’s goals is to compile a database of information on affordable housing in order to “see what’s vulnerable and see what stakeholders can do to make sure we preserve it.”
In a statement, Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “When I established the Strike Force in 2015, its mandate was clear—develop an action plan that ensures the District does not lose any of its already existing affordable housing. Ana has a strong background in economic, housing, and community development, strategic planning, and engagement, and we know she will serve the residents of D.C. well.”
Previously, Lopez Can Balen served as the National Director of Community Development and Innovation for Urban Strategies and as a cabinet member for Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett. According to a press release, she was selected as one of The Daily Record’s Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2014. In 2009, she was named Washingtonian of the Year as well as the winner of the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation Exponent Award.
• D.C. Hires New Affordable Housing Preservation Officer [Washington City Paper]